How does it feel to have RA in a young and very productive age? The answer is really heartbreaking at the beginning. I never imagined that I have to face this autoimune disease before I get married. Suddenly I can’t do many simple daily things on my own easily and I can’t do my hobbies. I have to make appointment with my rheumatology doctor at least once a week, and of course, I can’t get away from medication. This fact made me really in stress and this stress can cause my ‘flare’ get worse.The word ‘flare’ here refers to joints pain. It can be fingers, wrist, ankle, knee, elbow and so on. Besides the joints pain that I feel everyday, sometimes in unpredictable time, I will have fatigue, fever, or skin rash without knowing what really is the cause.
Every morning I wake up in stiffness and I get tired easily. I can’t stand or walk for a long time, but I can manage to do simple exercise as long as my feet allow me until my limit. Definitely, I can’t participate in any marathon anymore.
I can’t go shopping as much as I want around the mall or supermarket for a long time. Online shopping is the best option :).
I can’t grasp my hands or cut any vegetable when my fingers feel very stiff. Sometimes I need help from people near me to open sealed mineral water bottle in public area. And I can’t or to be exact I’m afraid to ride motorcycle again.
It’s hard for me to do my regular praying movement if my ankle and my wrist swollen. I have to pray in sitting position. I can’t do squat movement either because it’s hard to bend my knee. And because of it, full simple vinyasa yoga movement is really hard for me.
The last that makes me sad is that I can’t wear high heels anymore to any party or any occasion. Just sport shoes, flat shoes, slippers, or anything flat for my feet anywhere T_T. But you know, you won’t even really care about fashion anymore when you experience this kind of pain. I just need to be in comfortable clothes anywhere as long as it doesn’t hurt me.
The first symptom of my RA is when I went to Spain-Europe for my job training. It was the last 2 weeks there, the last week of March and already spring season. Maybe because of the cold in winter (and still very cold in the beginning of spring), the symptom getting worse and I had no idea what it was. I thought it was just my legs felt tired because I used them to travel and nonstop walking every weekend there, and maybe because my injured right ankle. But the symptom still last until I came back to Indonesia and just realized it’s RA one month later.
My doctor said that the treatment will lasting long. I don’t know whether this RA can be cured or not, because my doctor will never answer if I ask about this. RA is all about treatment management to avoid any disability in my limb. I can not miss appointment with my doctor who will give me combination of medication that I need according to my condition that moment. From what I learn in any blog of many RA patients, there is no cure for RA at the moment, but the medication can slow down the progress of the disease.
Just like a quote “the disease is invisible but the pain is real”, maybe I look very healthy from outside but not inside. Because not many people knows what is RA, I often hear the words “how can a young girl got RA? It’s an elder’s disease!”, including from my parent who don’t really believe in doctor. But in fact, this disease can exist at any age, even children.
It can be really frustrating when I’m in flare. But I decided to accept what I got and try hard to understand this RA. I can only try my best, pay attention what my doctor told me, be positive I can always be healthy, and of course pray every moment to the Almighty One I believe above. The fact living alone, having RA, and far from families is hard at some times but it may not change the fact that I have to face it. I keep on my mind that I am strong. Treat the flare and stiffness friendly 🙂
Bandung – the day scheduled to meet my doctor